Economic woes and regular power shortages have exacerbated the Gaza Strip’s water crisis. The only aquifer in the besieged enclave of 1.8 million people is grossly overused and has been degraded by saltwater intrusion and pollution for many years. Some Gazans can afford bottled water, yet most of the impoverished population relies on the undrinkable tap water. Multiple studies have linked the consumption of the sub-standard water to the rising rates of kidney stones in adults and the high incidence of diarrhea in children.
While Gaza’s main hospitals are overwhelmed with long waitlists for surgery, Al Ahli Arab Hospital, the only Christian general health care facility in the enclave, has sought to introduce an alternative, less invasive procedure that will provide greater and faster care for patients with kidney stones.
A generous grant from the Dutch Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem — secured by CNEWA’s Jerusalem team in the amount of $14,501.70 — enabled Al Ahli to procure new percutaneous nephrolithotomy equipment. This equipment allows doctors to perform minimally invasive operations to remove large and complex kidney and ureteral stones. The procedure maximizes efficacy and safety, while minimizing a patient’s blood loss, pain and recovery time.
Thanks to the donation, Al-Ahli Arab Hospital now serves as a referral point for the procedure. CNEWA’s longtime partner, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, better known as UNRWA, local insurance companies and other international agencies have begun to collaborate with Al Ahli Arab Hospital to schedule operations for critically ill patients who have been on hospital waitlists for months.
The new equipment will facilitate 2,300 operations annually, which in turn will generate revenue that will cover the hospital’s operational costs, including medical supplies and salaries.
Laura Schau-Tarazi is the grants and reports writer for CNEWA’s Jerusalem office.